Taking Franklin to the age of forty-one, when he made his first electrical discoveries, this volume demystifies the legend of genius to expose the harsh colonial world where the inventor fought many battles—with his rivals, but also with his wayward emotions—and the sources of his passion for knowledge.
In Young Benjamin Franklin: The Birth of Ingenuity, Bunker offers ample evidence to illustrate how Franklin developed ingenuity and how it influenced the rest of his life ... Despite a heavy emphasis on Franklin’s family, friends and acquaintances, Bunker covers all the important events of his early life ... Bunker offers newly discovered information about Franklin’s friends and family and vivid descriptions of the political and cultural atmosphere Franklin knew in London and Philadelphia. At times the research can be overwhelming, and Franklin’s story gets a bit lost in the details about what can seem like every person he knew in his first 40 years. But these little-known people do offer an interesting cast of characters ... Anyone interested in Franklin and early America should find this book fascinating. It offers important insight into the internal struggles Franklin wrestled with as a youth and the questions he strove to answer.
Exhaustive...Mr. Bunker keeps veering off into minor skirmishes and long-forgotten eccentrics. One can’t fault the impressive research, but one is occasionally impatient to get back to Franklin himself, to see what new trouble the youth would stumble into next...a useful corrective to the self-hagiography of Franklin’s memoirs.
Traces Franklin more minutely than any previous general biography...Bunker makes some high claims for his hero, which makes Franklin sound like a tedious paragon of disembodied virtue. Fortunately for readers, the man who lives in the pages of Young Benjamin Franklin is much more interesting.